Is My NCAA Bracket Pool = Illegal Gambling? and more...



Is My NCAA Bracket Pool = Illegal Gambling?

Spring time heralds cherry blossoms, spring break, and most important: March Madness. And what do NCAA basketball tournaments bring? Excitement, surprises and bracket pools. More money is bet on NCAA brackets and bracket pools than on the Super Bowl! Interest is at all-time high this year because Kentucky is on its way to a perfect season — the last time any NCAA had a perfect season was in 1976.

Many offices, families, neighborhood bars, and fantasy leagues have bracket pools. Sometimes the winners leave the bracket contests with upwards of 300 to 500 dollars. Recently, a client asked me if he could participate legally in one of these bracket pools.

Here’s my answer:

If the bracket pool is incidental to a “bonafide social relationship” where no bookie is involved, then participating in a bracket pool is legal under Colorado statute 18-10-102(2)(d) CRS. Keep in mind that even a person who engages in illegal, professionally driven gambling (meaning, through a bookie) only commits a Class 1 petty offense. The penalty for this offense is a ticket and a fine — no jail is possible.

So enjoy your bracket pool, but make sure it is connected to a social relationship, such as co-workers and friends.

Shaun Kaufman Law is experienced in the defense of gambling charges, and will stand for you in court to achieve the best result.

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Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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Can I Attach a GPS Device to My Girlfriend’s Car?

shirt with lipstickFor a decade, I co-owned a private detective agency. Can’t tell you how many times this question was asked by wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends…people who suspected that their spouse or significant other was fooling around.

Do You Want to Be a Felon?

This was my typical response. Because unless the person’s name is registered on the suspected philanderer’s vehicle (and it’s surprising how many spouses think their names are, but they aren’t), we’re talking felony if the person is caught. And trust me, people get caught.

A PI Who Ended Up in Jail

I once met a private investigator who learned a very costly lesson. He knew his client’s name was not on the spouse’s vehicle registration, but he attached the GPS anyway. A woman in an adjacent parking lot had seen him crawl underneath a car with an object, then reappear empty-handed. She immediately called the police and said, “I think a guy just attached a bomb to a car.”

Bomb Technician Vehicle (courtesy FBI)

Bomb Technician Vehicle (courtesy FBI)

Next thing the PI knew, police, fire trucks and bomb squads arrived, and he was in handcuffs. Nearby schools, homes and businesses were evacuated. News stations picked up on the story and widely reported the bomb threat. It took him nearly two years and $8,000 in legal fees to salvage his investigations business, and through the hard work of his lawyer the PI ended up with a variety of misdemeanors, but no felony.

That was his single stroke of luck in the entire debacle.

Try Communicating

Whenever someone calls my office, angry and hurt over the possibility of their spouse/loved one cheating, asking if they should invest in a GPS device or hire a PI who will do it for them, I ask them to try communicating with their partner instead. Pick a convenient time when the two of them have privacy, and keep the conversation calm and fair. State concerns over possible infidelity, and listen without over-reacting.

I also suggest marriage/relationship counseling. That’s a heck of a lot cheaper, with the potential for renewed growth and happiness in the relationship, versus a divorce.

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Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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A Lawyer, His Cowboy Boots & a Cop

I had a funny experience a short while back that could have ended up disastrous, but instead ended up being a kismet event. My wife wrote about it on her writing blog, which I share below. She wrote it for #1000Speak, an organization whose motto is “1000 Voices Speak for Compassion.” On March 20, contributing bloggers are writing about looking at bullying from a positive viewpoint.

She chose to write about my story as it started out with my running toward what I believed to be a bullying incident, but was actually something entirely different.

Slipping, Sliding Toward a Bully

by Colleen Collins, All Rights Reserved.

My husband loves his cowboy boots. Wears them with his suits to court. One day he and a judge sang a Merle Haggard song together — Shaun in his suit, the judge in his black robes — both of them in their cowboy boots. Wish I’d been there to hear the song and to see the looks on people’s faces in the courtroom!

A month or so ago, Shaun was walking downtown through snow and ice in his cowboy boots when he saw a police officer shove a man to the ground. Shaun didn’t think twice, just starting running toward them, yelling “What’s going on?” and waving his hands. He was on a mission to stop perceived violence. Problem is, those cowboy boots have slick soles.

He hit a patch of ice and and started sliding toward traffic, just as several police units squealed around the corner, lights flashing. Shaun kept slipping and sliding toward the busy street, unable to stop, his heart pounding, realizing he was going to be run over…at the last minute, he grabbed onto a parking meter…and fell face down in a pile of snow between two parked cars, the whoosh of cars and crunching tires a foot or two from his head.

Strong arms helped him to his feet. It was the police officer who’d shoved the guy.  “You okay?” he asked. As Shaun brushed snow off his face and clothes, they talked. Shaun learned that the guy who had been shoved was a felon with an outstanding warrant. He’d turned violent, resisted arrest, and the officer had been trying to subdue him, not abuse him. Meanwhile, in the background, the felon was handcuffed and being placed in the backseat of one of the units.

Then, to Shaun’s surprise, he learned the officer is a sergeant in the police department of a nearby jurisdiction where Shaun is moving his law practice. Even more small world, the sergeant is a former private investigator who worked for the lawyer whose office Shaun is taking over! His and the officer’s paths will be crossing even more in the months and years to come.

Shaun ran to halt what he perceived to be bullying, but instead ran toward a valuable connection in his future.

~ End of article ~


Postscript from Shaun: In case you’re wondering about those cowboy boots, I’m still wearing them rain or shine…or snow.

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Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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St. Patrick’s Day: How to Avoid a DUI

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, which means a lot of green beer will be consumed. It St Pats Day Little Touch of Green handcuffsalso means law enforcement will be out in force, looking for drunk drivers and managing DUI checkpoints.

DUIs Can Be Expensive

The expenses can pile up if you get arrested for a DUI, especially if you cause an accident. I’m not talking about attorney’s fees, I’m talking about everything from the ticket to the detox stay to the spike in car insurance.

Average Cost of a DUI in Colorado

Several years ago there was an article in Westword about the average cost of a DUI in Colorado, from the jail fee to the victim assistance fund to the detox center. Below is the infographic they created to show the breakdown of those costs — at the bottom is the total cost which is over $10,000 dollars (and these estimates are already outdated!):

Average cost of CO DUI 2012

Tips to Avoid a DUI

Here’s a few suggestions for having a safe, good time on St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Go to Nearby Places. If possible, pick party spots that are within walking distance or a short drive away.
  • Designate a Driver. You’ve probably heard this advice dozens of times, but it’s a simple, smart way to not only avoid going to jail but even saving others’ lives.
  • Call a Cab or Driving Service. Store these numbers in your phone ahead of time — better yet, put them on speed-dial. Paying for a safe ride home is a lot cheaper than being arrested for a DUI.

Tips to Stop Others from Driving Drunk

Here’s a few more suggestions for helping friends and others not drive drunk:

  • Approach the conversation in a non-confrontational way. Keep in mind that an intoxicated person’s perceptions are impaired, so speak slowly, keep it light, and explain more carefully.
  • Ask a friend or two to help. It’s more difficult for a drunk person to say no to several people. Make sure everyone is in sync with being supportive and not aggressive.
  • Gently take the person’s car keys. A key here is to distract the person so you can more easily take away the keys. Again, keep it light, avoid a confrontation, take extra care to not humiliate the person.
  • Emphasize that you care for the person’s safety. You can do this in a number of ways: invite the person to sleep over if you’re at your place, drive the person home if you are sober, or pay the person’s cab fare.

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Shaun Kaufman has three decades experience defending DUI cases. You will always work with Shaun Kaufman, who has studied blood and breath-alcohol testing, as well as the rules and regulations of the admissibility of those tests.  He is a passionate and tireless advocate for his clients.

To contact Shaun Kaufman, fill out the contact form on the right side of this page, or call 303-309-0430 any day of the week, 24 hours a day.

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Digital Footprints in the Courtroom

Shoes

Sticky digital footprints can lead to your identity

Below is a #bookexcerpt from A Lawyer’s Primer for Writers: From Crimes to Courtrooms, co-authored with Colleen Collins. This excerpt is from the chapter “Lawyers and Technology” on the subject of digital forensics that starts with a basic definition and ends with the story of a real case where a computer guru was called to the stand in the middle of a trial…and right there, on the spot, he analyzed the digital footprints in an email header that solved the crime!

Click on cover to go to book's Amazon page

Click on cover to go to book’s Amazon page

What Is Digital Forensics?

In general, digital forensics is data recovered from any device capable of holding electronically stored information. For a lawyer to admit this data as evidence, it should be reliably obtained and authentic. As to such data being reliably obtained, a lawyer can offer the credentials of the digital forensics expert who retrieved the data. As to whether or not digital evidence is authentic, a lawyer could of course refer to the digital forensics expert’s qualified opinion; in addition, a lawyer can be an active participant in the e-discovery, or electronic discovery, search criteria.

What Is Metadata?

In this electronic age, it helps a lawyer to learn a few tricks of the digital trade, such as understanding the different kinds of metadata, which is the data that describes other data, that can be found within digital media, such as:

  • Digital documents and images
  • Videos
  • Electronic spreadsheets
  • Web pages.

For example, metadata can pinpoint when a document was altered or the date a digital photo was taken.

Case Example: The Computer Guru Who Took the Stand

Back when I co-owned a legal investigations agency, my partner and I once worked a case where a woman claimed she was being stalked by a man, our client, who was sending her harassing and intimidating emails. We found a computer engineer who specialized in the design of email programs. He was brought to court as an expert witness, and right there in the courtroom this computer engineer analyzed the metadata in the email headers of the harassing emails and interpreted them as being altered from their original content, as well as the exact date when they were altered.

But that wasn’t all.

The computer engineer next began analyzing the IP addresses, which indicated the general region where the altered email versions had originated…that’s when the woman burst into tears. She confessed that she had doctored her former boyfriend’s emails so it appeared that he was harassing her — seems he’d broken up with her, and she wanted to get back at him, bad. So bad, she made up evidence. Problem was, she wasn’t very techno-savvy and had left incriminating digital footprints that the computer engineer easily found.

Articles on Metadata

Below are a few articles on metadata basics and how digital footprints are being used in legal cases:

METADATA 101: A Non-Techie Does Her Best to Explain Metadata (and Why it Matters) In Plain English (Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris)

Divorce Cases Being Driven by Digital Footprints (MacRoberts)

Feds charge confessed Anon member after tracking his digital footprints (ars technica)



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Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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